Father’s Day 2018

Father’s Day brings with it one of my absolute favorite family traditions: Madison’s answers to Lynnette’s Father’s Day Questionnaire:

IMG_0468First of all, this is the first year I read this sheet and didn’t hear it in a child’s voice. I heard it in Madison’s tweener voice and so the word “daddy” sounded especially strange. She usually just calls me “dad” or “DAAAAAD!”. Anyway, let’s get to the answers.

I’m going to assume “Big Mac” was just easier to articulate than “Double Quarter with Cheese” and it’s not even right. Now and always, the correct answer is sushi. My first laugh came with the commentary on my affinity for aloha shirts, which, I mean, is just  The French bread pizza answer got a chuckle out of me because just this past week Mad’s started eating them which means LESS FRENCH BREAD PIZZA FOR ME. While this is not as bad as living in the same house as Matty, I am afraid that’s where we’re headed.

But it’s the next two: “My Daddy works hard at Pokemon-ing” and “Daddy always tells me “Where’s Avery?” that absolutely obliterated me. I spent 3 hours playing Pokemon Go yesterday. Those three hours included walking from the zoo to the Fort DeRussy and back twice, just to cash in on a special event. That wasn’t even the worst part! I ran into a college friend on the way to pay for my parking. We were both kidless and it was obvious she was going surfing, but when she asked me what I was doing I opened my mouth and realized I didn’t have any of the kids with me. So I said, “I, uh, I still play Pokemon Go and I’m here for an event.” Believe me, it sounded way worse in real life. Ugh.

“Where’s Avery?” is a question I ask between 3 and 80 times a day. If things are too quiet, that means Avery is getting into something she shouldn’t be. I ask “Where’s Avery?” as I look up from my phone; finish folding laundry; put the last of the dishes in the dish rack; when I come out of the bathroom; wake up from a nap; and finish preparing the twins’ meals. The answers to “Where’s Avery?” have ranged (so far this summer) from “in the tub” to “in the sink” to “in the dishwasher” to “pulling all your boxers out of the drawer” to “looking out the window” to “SHE GOT INTO MY ROOM AND OPENED UP MY SLIME!” to “she put herself down for nap”. The second to the last is the worst so far and the last is always the best.


IMG_0576Usually we have lunch with Lynnette’s side of the family but this year they scheduled dinner. That meant we had the chance for lunch at my parents’ house.

Pictures like this one here always mystify me. Even after all this time, it seems surreal. It’s the house I grew up in, but it doesn’t look the same at all, just like it’s still my dad and I but just look at these kids. My entire family (including Lynnette!) wore dry-fit shirts in my honor today and I knew my dad would be, too. We got him a gray sleeveless dry-fit shirt because that’s what he likes to wear. We also got him some peanut M&Ms which he immediately shared with Cole and Avery because that’s what he likes to do. And incredibly, we snapped this picture with everyone looking and Madison not doing some weird thing with her feet like she always does. My dad never feels this much taller than me, but I guess he is. Maybe it’s a combination of the lighting, angle, and slippers.

Coach Al tried for a very long time to teach me how to hit a baseball, but it didn’t take. He also spent my entire life quietly teaching me what it takes to be a reliable husband and father. I like to think those lessons stuck.

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We’ve Got a Runner!

IMG_0314Lynnette and Madison left early this morning to film something for the Department of Health. Lynnette offered me a role as an extra, but I am wary of the camera adding 15-10 pounds – depending on whether my head is tilted up or down – so I politely declined. That left me home alone with the twins.

IMG_0339IMG_0332I took Cole and Avery to Sundial Park in Kapolei because it’s fenced-in. It’s an adjustment I’ve had to make because of Avery. In the past, both the twins have taken to the play structures, especially in playing with Madison. But that’s seemingly changed recently. Cole still very much enjoys the playgrounds. He chats up the other kids and today he addressed a woman as “aunty” and asked her to cross the bridge. He likes to challenge himself by climbing new thins. But Avery has no interest at all. In fact, while Madison, Cole, Avery, and I have been able to make it to a couple of new playgrounds already this summer, we haven’t been able to enjoy them much because all Avery wants to do is run.

First, she’s drawn to trees and flowers so she’ll wander over to those first. But as soon as she’s bored and sniffed enough of the flowers, she just starts running in a direction away from Madison and me. I spent those first two trips running after her on grass and concrete, through bushes, and up hills. To put it mildly, and in a slight alteration of what I have muttered under my breath while in mid-chase, I have decided that I no longer wish to do that. So I’m trying to piece together a list of enclosed playgrounds. I got lucky today. Sundial Park. It’s a small space filled with flowers. Well, if you know of any such play area, please let me know. It’s going to be a long, hot, sweaty summer otherwise.

Happy Super-Early $)th Birthday, Lynnette!

IMG_0320Lynnette and I spent our morning re-enacting that scene from the very first Jurassic Park movie where Samuel L. Jackson was trying to use the computers in the control room to restore the security and function to the entire island. Except there weren’t any dinosaurs, there were only Bruno Mars tickets.

Like many of my friends – judging from the posts on social media – I spent about an hour this morning trying for Bruno Mars tickets. My original plan was to buy the maximum number of 4, then gift them to Lynnette and her best friends to celebrate a rather significant birthday in November. I had reveal that surprise at about 9:40 this morning when I realized that I would not be able to operate the control center alone.

By about 9:45, I had my phone, Lynnette’s phone, my iPad, the desktop computer, and the laptop all up on Ticketmaster. My only other experiences with Ticketmaster were for WWE and Jo Koy shows. I figured the most devices, the better the odds. Lynnette, Madison and I spent the first 10 minutes of the sale starting at 5 queue screens. At some point Madison smartly shifted to a role which prevented Cole and Avery from climbing/diving/jumping onto us; this allowed Lynnette and I to continue rolling through increasingly worse tickets as “another fan” had somehow selected the “verified tickets” which were “being secured”.

After about half-an-hour, we finally made it to a payment screen. They weren’t the seats I had hoped for, but by then I had given up idealism. As the time on the clock melted away, I rushed to input my information. It felt like one of those computer guys in War Games or Armageddon or GoldenEye: I was just banging the keys before global thermonuclear war or the comet hit or the satellite did something bad. It was frustrating. I know randomness is as close to fairness as we’re going to get, and I don’t know that there’s a better way but it feels like there should be. Luckily, we were able to get some tickets, so it was worth it in the end. Plus, it’s hard to hate anything that results in this:

That’s what I like, that’s what I like.

Madison as Vigo the Carpathian

I was at the stoplight at the end of the Mililani Mauka offramp. I had just picked up poke for Lynnette’s dinner. Because the twins were napping, I left them home with Madison. I gave her strict instructions: she was to text me if either of them woke up. That’s why when I saw Mad’s name pop up in the Sienna’s in-dash display, I wasn’t surprised.

“Did they wake up?” I asked.
“Hey,” Madison said.
“Are they up?” I asked.
“No, but there’s some slime on the ceiling,” she answered.
“What?!” I said.
“There’s a little slime on the ceiling,” she repeated. Madison often uses qualifiers like “some” and “a little” in order to mitigate her troublesome circumstances.
“How did slime get on the ceiling?” I asked.
“I got up and I tripped and I forgot I had the slime in my hand and I threw it and it hit the ceiling and some of it got stuck,” she said.
It was hard for me to picture.

IMG_9893“Are you sure you weren’t throwing it around?” I asked as I looked at the bits of slime that had decided to settle the ceiling of our living room. “I tripped and started stumbling and forgot I had the slime so I kind of threw it up,” Mad said. That was her story and was sticking to it – like the slime.

I guess I believe her. I’ve seen my friend Brent accidentally throw a bible across a stage in the middle of a homily on the Encounter Retreat, so I’ll believe anyone can accidentally throw anything. Plus, Madison is incredibly clumsy and this ineptitude is exacerbated by the fact that she doesn’t pay attention to what she’s doing. She spills cups of liquid routinely. Just this afternoon she somehow spilled goldfish crackers out of a bowl. Whenever Lynnette or I try to tell her to be careful or pay attention because she’s clumsy, Madison insists she’s not clumsy. Well, Mad, you’re not going to get less clumsy by denying the problem. As for those globs of slime… it wasn’t exactly Ghostbusters 2, so I easily wiped them from the ceiling. Madison put the slime away, hopefully in a place that Avery can’t get to, because the last time Avery got to the slime, the slime got into the carpet and it’s still there.

The lesson here is probably that summer should get sunny again real quick so the combined powers of Madison, Cole, and Avery can’t destroy the house.

The Start of Summer ’18

Lynnette’s on Maui for a wedding and she sent me this early this morning:

20180602_102628While not as gorgeous as Lynnette herself, I have to admit that’s pretty stunning view. It’s serene and idyllic and the polar opposite of what Lynnette left me with:

IMG_9866The first day of summer was a success on multiple fronts.

  1. We made it to a new playground in the Salt Lake area and found two more to revisit when Lynnette is with us because today I was the only adult chasing Avery and I gotta be honest: I am not as athletic as I like to believe.
  2. We avoided eating lunch or dinner out. We picked up some groceries and will use them for lunch this week, or as long as they last.
  3. I’ve already cleaned out the Corolla for Lynnette’s use starting Monday.
  4. The kids got into the pink pool this afternoon. I am hoping to wipe them out because I while they haven’t seemed to mind that Lynnette’s not around, I don’t know what tonight’s going to be like when I try to put them to bed.

In fact, the only speed bump I encountered on this first day of summer was a random ambush by my stomach in the middle of our Target run. I gave Mad the Icee to share with the twins and parked the shopping cart along a wall near the restrooms in hopes that the wouldn’t descend into chaos for however long my stomach wanted to terrorize me. Do you know what makes a stomach attack 100 times better? Hearing the shouts and unintelligible noises of your two year-olds ricochet off 5 walls on their way to your ears while sitting in a public restroom, then hearing a woman ask “Are you guys alright?”, then hearing your 10 year-old say “Yeah, we’re fine. AVERY DON’T DO THAT!” So good.

Anyway, we’re going to pick up Lynnette tomorrow morning and there’s talk of Krispy Kremes and the beach tomorrow. That would be pretty awesome. Let’s rock, Summer ’18!

Mother’s Day 2018: More Like 2003

IMG_1423Though we scheduled our Mother’s Day as usual, the actual meal did not go as planned. Uncle Flor and Aunty Amy could not attend because of illness; Lynnette’s nephew Aidan was also sick and did not come to lunch. Worst of all, Avery ran all over the courtyard the entire time we were meant to eat the delicious Orchids buffet. She was chased by myself, Lynnette, Lynnette’s parents, and Lynnette’s cousin Jenn. Suboptimal.

IMG_9258Speaking of chasers, Lynnette kicked off Monther’s Day weekend by taking us back to 2003. We were invited to a surprise engagement party last night and for a few hours, Lynnette unleashed whatever shreds of pre-marriage, pre-mortgage, pre-kids Lynnette she has left inside of her and it. was. glorious.

***Mother’s Day Exclusive***
Party Lynnette: The Definitive Guide

1-Drink Lynnette: No commitments have been made. Maybe she’s just being social, could be partying. We gotta see, yet. I have a 10% chance of getting lucky. When describing drinks, she sounds like: Oh. That’s good.

3-Drink Lynnette: While there still exists the possibility she could slam on the brakes, three drinks is a pretty good indication that a good time will be had by all. My personal favorite Lynnette. She starts doing that shoulder shifting thing that she considers dancing and I consider sexy.  I have a 50% chance of getting lucky. When describing drinks, she sounds like: Oh, my God, this is soooo good!

5-Drink Lynnette: There’s no going back. We’re partying. I can either get with the program or get the hell out of the way. She rapped Left Eye’s verse on “Waterfall” and I have video of it but she won’t let me post it because “[her] co-workers and friends would lose respect for [her].” To which the obvious rebuttal is “No, they will have more respect for you after seeing you flawlessly drop hot, off-key bars. I have a 25% chance of getting lucky. When describing drinks, she sounds like: What is this? Whatever!

8-Drink Lynnette: Rare territory. She’s laughing at all my jokes. She’s making her own questionable jokes. She and I took shots with our arms entwined and I have a picture of it but she won’t let me post it because “[it’s] terrible.” She looked at her phone two hours ago and said “What did I take video of?” I have a 0% chance of getting lucky. When describing drinks, she sounds like: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Lynnette got to that final level last night and our car ride home was just like old times in that only one of us was conscious. She was amazing last night, then shrugged off the pain to put on her mom hat like she does every single day. What an incredible 24-hour stretch from Lynnette. Happy Mother’s Day, Lynnette. Between your rapping and chasing Avery around the courtyard in your dress, just an epic mom performance.

Damien Monarchs: 2018 Division II Baseball State Champions

At the end of last year’s Baseball State Championship game, after I watched our lead evaporate in the top of the 7th inning, after the Kauai team spilled out from the dugout to celebrate its championship, I stood in silence. Arms raised, fingers locked behind my head. Did that just happen? 

I have spent over half my life at Damien. I played varsity baseball for three years. I was the head coach of the JV baseball team for two years. I have served as an assistant baseball coach on the varsity team under 4 different head coaches. That’s thousands of memories and the overwhelming majority of them are of frustration and failing and disappointment and anger and exhaustion and losing. Basically just the first verse – but none of the chorus – of Queen’s “We Are the Champions”. And because of all this, I had been conditioned to fear that such a thing as a baseball state championship was simply an impossible dream. That endings like last year’s state championship game, this year’s football and basketball state championship games were just plot points in an immutable script that we were never allowed to deviate from. Not anymore.

IMG_9199

The Damien Monarchs are the 2018 Division II Baseball State Champions. They did it.


IMG_9166I saw the koa trophy with our assistant athletic director through the throng of family and friends in the jubilant post-game celebration. I walked over so I could touch it and – I don’t know – make sure it was real. “Do you want to take a picture with it?” she asked. “No,” I said, because I knew if I held it I would cry. “You gotta, Phil!” Chris, a Damien alum, player, and fellow coach said. “Let’s go, Phil!” DJ, a Damien alum, player, and fellow coach said. And so we did. And so I ugly cried and my current students are already making fun of me.

What I’m trying to say is this: If you are standing on a sandy shore looking out toward the ocean, the crisp blue-green of the ocean ends in a taut line where it appears to meet the dull blue of the sky. That razor-thin line between the two is the exact difference between a dream and its manifestation in reality. And though that point on the horizon can seem impossibly far off or people tell us that it’s just an illusion and life often teaches us the harsh lesson that we might never be able to reach it, yesterday we did.

To the 2018 Monarch Baseball Team,
Congratulations! You overcame every obstacle laid in your path. You brought a state title – our first – to Houghtailing Street. Thank you so much for making a fellow Monarch’s 23 year-old dream come true.

Viriliter Age,
-Higa